On Saturday’s “MSNBC Live,” Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) stated that “some freedoms are going to have to be given up” to ensure unstable people don’t get weapons and that he will agree to act on gun control, but “not necessarily for normal people.” He also expressed uncertainty as to whether people should be allowed to own AR-15s and argued for making schools harder targets.
Rooney said, “Well, we are one of the most open societies in the world. I think that each one of these heinous crimes raises the bar and makes us — compels that we, as a nation, rethink where we are on our open society versus what are we willing to do in restricting freedom to make sure that we’re safe and secure. Very unstable situation here, when someone like a person of this demonstrated mental illness, at the local level and even to the FBI, could get ahold of an assault weapon, we’ve got to think about that.”
He added, “I think this raises the bar significantly, that a person of this demonstrated debility could get ahold an assault weapon, that so many warning signs at the — at all levels of government would go unanswered, and that he could just walk right into another soft target school. We’ve got to harden up these schools. Too many schools have been plagued.”
Later, Rooney answered a question on his support for looser gun laws by stating, “I think…the question is who gets the gun, not the gun itself. I think we need to have really tough laws on background checks and making sure — and waiting periods, maybe even put chips in the guns, so we know where they are. But something — some freedoms are going to have to be given up to make sure that unstable people don’t have access to those weapons. Guns don’t kill people. The deranged people kill people, and they use guns or they use car bombs or they use different things to do it.” He further stated that privacy laws “absolutely” have to be looked at.
Anchor Alex Witt also asked, “Is there a reason that you can think of why any private citizen needs to own an AR-15 assault rifle?
Rooney answered, “To be honest with you, I’m not sure. I think people should be able to use them in gun ranges if they want to go rip off a lot of caps, if you will, at a gun range. But, do they need to own them and take them out of the facility? I’m not sure. This thing here, when a mentally deranged person can get a hold of an AR-15, we’ve got to deal with that.”
Witt then asked, “Do you think you and your fellow Republicans are going to agree to do something about gun control now?”
Rooney responded, “Well, I certainly am, not necessarily for normal people. But I definitely think we need to tighten up background checks to make sure that people like this [shooter in Parkland] can’t get weapons.”